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Brazil and torture

What Brazil tells us about torture today. A thoughtful discussion by Clive James of torture in the context of the movies in general and Terry Gilliam's Brazil in particular. Warning: occasional descriptions of awful behavior, and the reader may have his opinion of humanity lowered. "The historical evidence suggests that on the rare occasions when a state begins again in what a fond humanitarian might think of as a condition of innocence, a supply of young torturers is the first thing it produces... In the Nazi and Soviet cellars and camps, people were regularly tortured for information they did not possess: i.e., they were tortured just for the hell of it."
posted by languagehat on Feb 25, 2007 - 50 comments

Number 1 for torture

Sixty-seven scenes of torture in five seasons. Is 24 responsible for an increase in real-life torture? They at least feel guilty enough to meet up with some actual interrogators encouraging them to make their torture scenes more authentic. But it's not just 24 - torture is becoming more prevalent on all American television.
posted by meech on Feb 12, 2007 - 107 comments

An Interrogator's Lament

"I failed to disobey a meritless order, I failed to protect a prisoner in my custody, and I failed to uphold the standards of human decency. Instead, I intimidated, degraded and humiliated a man who could not defend himself. I compromised my values. I will never forgive myself."
posted by empath on Feb 9, 2007 - 58 comments

We're Not Gonna Take It.

Turn it off: The Society for Ethnomusicology issues a position statement against the use of music as an instrument of torture.
posted by Miko on Feb 8, 2007 - 40 comments

Allegations of rape-as-torture at Abu Ghraib surface on YouTube.

Last week a video was posted to YouTube and linked to by the Iraqslogger site. The YouTube account ("Deathlyillington") is now defunct but the video survives and purports to show a former guard from Abu Ghraib talking about torture techniques employed at the American-run prison. The man recounts the gang rape of a female teenage detainee, in which one guard "pimped" the girl to others for $50 each. As he recalls, "I think at the end of the day he'd made like 500 bucks before she hung herself." The US Army's Criminal Investigation Department has now launched an investigation, but the question remains, is the video real, or is it a hoax along the lines of Jesse Macbeth, the Daily Mirror fake torture photos or the fake beheading video. The video contains few clues to the identity of the alleged soldier, who is shown in silhouette but seems potentially recognizable. A transcript is available.
posted by unSane on Feb 1, 2007 - 67 comments

JUMAH AL-DOSSARI is a 33-year-old citizen of Bahrain.

If I die, please remember that there was a human being named Jumah at Guantanamo
posted by rxrfrx on Jan 12, 2007 - 109 comments

Tough Love

The Trouble with Troubled Teen Programs
posted by daksya on Dec 28, 2006 - 85 comments

Now You Can Go Where People Are One

Tuol Sleng: 114 photographs taken by the Khmer Rouge at Pol Pot's secret prison, code-named "S-21" in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. When the Vietnamese invaded in 1979, the S-21 prison staff fled, leaving behind thousands of written records and photographs.
posted by fandango_matt on Dec 24, 2006 - 26 comments

"A piece of furniture"

Window Into a Terror Suspect’s Isolation. American citizen and enemy combatant Jose Padilla gets a root canal. [Via Hullabaloo.]
posted by homunculus on Dec 4, 2006 - 41 comments

A Russian-American desaparecido and a Nazi cult.

Boris Weisfeiler disappeared in Chile. The authorities claim that the experienced outdoorsman had drowned trying to ford a four-foot river. Uncovered documents tell a different story - that Pinochet's military had mistaken the vacationing mathematics professor for a "Jewish spy" and sent him as a political prisoner to the 37,000 acre German expatriate Nazi apocalyptic cult enclave of Colonia Dignidad. There, he was kept alive for at least two years before Paul Schaefer, the founder of the enclave, a Luftwaffe nurse and a serial child molester, most likely had him killed.
posted by Sticherbeast on Nov 22, 2006 - 20 comments

Rumsfeld: War Crimes Charges

Donald Rumsfeld: The War Crimes Case and TIME: A lawsuit to be filed on Nov. 14th in Germany will seek a criminal prosecution of the outgoing Defense Secretary and other U.S. officials for their alleged role in abuses at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo. Lawyers for the plaintiffs say that one of the witnesses who will testify on their behalf is former Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, the one-time commander of all U.S. military prisons in Iraq. Karpinski… has issued a written statement to accompany the legal filing, which says, in part: “It was clear the knowledge and responsibility [for what happened at Abu Ghraib] goes all the way to the top of the chain of command to the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ”. . . . Rumsfeld's resignation, they say, means that the former Defense Secretary will lose the legal immunity usually accorded high government officials. Previously: Chain of Command, (May 9, 2004); Interview with Abu Ghraib general, (November 8, 2005)
posted by spock on Nov 11, 2006 - 67 comments

Set A Course for Adventure!

AirTorture - Your Premiere "Whisked Away" Airline
Book your flight from **Undisclosed location** to sunny **Undisclosed location** today! Or you may just have a flight booked for you. Enjoy the waterboarding sports!

It's a no brainer (NSFW background)!
posted by fenriq on Nov 4, 2006 - 13 comments

An American Martyr

She would rather die than become a torturer.
posted by empath on Nov 2, 2006 - 133 comments

Babbling Bobster Beatnik Poetry

His fog, his amphetamines and his pearls
Lofi shot off the monitor at the recent EMP exhibit, the entire footage of an Eat The Document outtake recently edited by Martin Scorcese for No Direction Home.

I don't entirely get the Chaplinesque--To paraphrase crunchland, Hey, Skeezix--it's a talkie...
posted by y2karl on Oct 27, 2006 - 31 comments

"It's a no-brainer for me."

Cheney indicated the Bush administration doesn't regard waterboarding as torture and allows the CIA to use it. "It's a no-brainer for me," Cheney said. [previously]
posted by chunking express on Oct 26, 2006 - 196 comments

This Is What Waterboarding Looks Like

This Is What Waterboarding Looks Like -- David Corn, co-author with Michael Isikoff of HUBRIS: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal and the Selling of the Iraq War, writes about what waterboarding is and what the torturer's tools look like. Back in the day, the Khmer Rouge, among other repressive regimes, used it. Interestingly, waterboarding typically isn't employed to gain useful information. No, this near-drowning technique is most useful for eliciting "confessions". Good times, good times. ( via reddit via Diggdot.us)
posted by mooncrow on Sep 29, 2006 - 167 comments

The Great Writ

Habeas Corpus, R.I.P. (1215 - 2006). It was so pre-9/11 anyway. Instead we may get "our generation’s version of the Alien and Sedition Acts." What could go wrong?
posted by homunculus on Sep 28, 2006 - 156 comments

A Rogue State

A Rogue State. Matt Yglesias sums up what America has become after the McCain "Compromise."
posted by empath on Sep 26, 2006 - 48 comments

Six Questions on the American 'Gulag' & Pardon Me, Please

Does the tolerance for abuses committed during the “war on terrorism” have any implications for the health of democracy at home?

The President’s broad new powers in the signing statements that enable him to override Congress have corroded the American system of checks and balances. American law enforcement agencies can now wiretap American civilians and detain citizens and permanent residents without charges, and consequently without evidence. Last week the House passed legislation to build a 700-mile Israeli-style fence on the U.S.–Mexico border and to deploy there many of the surveillance technologies tested in Iraq. Perhaps the domestic installation of wartime technologies and military surveillance in civilian settings has become acceptable to us because we have become accustomed, as Soviet citizens did during the endless Stalinist purges, to open-ended wars—wars with no opening salvo and no concluding treaty. Whether or not one agrees that American detention centers and secret prisons are the “Gulag of our time,” the comparison deserves serious consideration. It might help us shine a torch into the dark corners of repression, where the totalitarian qualities of our own society lurk, before the scale of violence ascends to Gulag dimensions.
Six Questions on the American “Gulag” for Historian Kate Brown
See also Bush seeks immunity for violating War Crimes Act
posted by y2karl on Sep 24, 2006 - 50 comments

Torture 'R US[A]

New terror that stalks Iraq's republic of fear
U.N. Finds Baghdad Toll Far Higher Than Cited
Iraq torture 'worse after Saddam'
The Facts on the Ground: Mini-Gulags, Hired Guns, Lobbyists, and a Reality Built on Fear
U.S. troops in Iraq are Tehran's 'hostages'
Anti-Americanism Is A Glue
posted by y2karl on Sep 22, 2006 - 92 comments

"The President has the authority."

Senators cave on torture.
posted by EarBucket on Sep 21, 2006 - 252 comments

Trevor vs. The Torture Taxi

Trevor Paglen is a scholar and artist who investigates the California prison-industrial complex and secret military bases in his work as an "experimental geographer." In his new book, Tracking the Torture Taxi, Paglen uses the methods of "21st century participatory journalism" (including a Google Earth image of a CIA interrogation facility) to uncover the network of private planes (such as Aero Contractors of Smithfield, NC) that whisk people off to secret prisons without oversight.
posted by jonp72 on Sep 20, 2006 - 6 comments

Who Are The Prisoners at Guantánamo, The Prisoners Speak & Calling Cruelty What It Is

After two months of sifting the information, Hegland had her answer. 'The data was really clear,' she says. 'It was mind-boggling.' It showed that most of the detainees hadn’t been caught 'on the battlefield' but rather mostly in Pakistan; fewer than half were accused of fighting against the U.S., and there was scant evidence to confirm that they were even combatants. In other words, most of the detainees probably were entirely innocent. Just a few days after Hegland published a three-part series on her findings in early February, a law professor at Seton Hall University... and his son, ...who together have represented Guantanamo detainees, published a study that also used the Defense Department’s own data... Only 8 percent of detainees at Guantanamo were labeled by the Defense Department as 'al Qaeda fighters,' they found, and just 11 percent had been captured 'on the battlefield' by coalition forces.
Who are the Prisoners at Gitmo?
posted by y2karl on Sep 19, 2006 - 88 comments

Arar Commission Releases Report

Yesterday, the Arar Commission released their report on the handling of the Maher Arar case, previously mentioned here or here. The findings are widely reported; Canada is self-flagellating for being complicit in the United States' abduction and torture of a Canadian citizen. As President Bush goes to Congress to lobby for the legal authority to abduct and torture anyone without a trial, Arar should consider himself lucky: although Canada didn't help him out for a year, the Canadian government and news media were aware of and interested in his confinement, which likely saved him from the worst tortures. As a famous legal scholar commented some 240 years ago, "To bereave a man of life, or by violence to confiscate his estate, without accusation or trial, would be so gross and notorious an act of despotism, as must at once convey the alarm of tyranny throughout the whole nation; but confinement of the person, by secretly hurrying him to jail, where his sufferings are unknown or forgotten, is a less public, a less striking, and therefore a more dangerous engine of arbitrary government."
posted by jellicle on Sep 19, 2006 - 102 comments

"Sleeplessness . . . befogs the reason, undermines the will, and the human being ceases to be himself, to be his own 'I.' "

Most everybody's asleep in Grover's Corners. There are a few lights on: Shorty Hawkins, down at the depot, has just watched the Albany train go by. And at the livery stable somebody's setting up late and talking. -- Yes, it's clearing up. There are the stars - doing their old, old crisscross journeys in the sky. Scholars haven't settled the matter yet, but they seem to think there are no living beings up there. Just chalk... or fire. Only this one is straining away, straining away all the time to make something of itself. The strain's so bad that every sixteen hours everybody lies down and gets a rest. Hm... Eleven o'clock in Grover's Corners. -- You get a good rest, too. Good night.
posted by orthogonality on Sep 18, 2006 - 20 comments

Comfort Women

On Wednesday, the US House of Representatives' Committee on International Relations adopted a bipartisan resolution to ask the Japanese government to formally apologize for sexually enslaving up to 200,000 "comfort women" in Imperial brothels during its colonial occupation of Asia from 1932 through the end of World War II. Many were tortured and raped, and only about 30% survived WWII. Japan has stated repeatedly that even though the brothels were established by military policy, the imperial government was not directly involved in operating them. Taking responsibility would be an admission that they committed war crimes -- slavery and trafficking in women and children -- and could give victims a legal basis to sue for reparations.

H Res. 759 does not ask Japan to provide reparations, but it does push them to unambiguously acknowledge what happened and educate future generations, (full text) rather than continue the current practice of denying what really happened. Previously on MeFi.
posted by zarq on Sep 15, 2006 - 56 comments

Spooks frightened

CIA Staff Worried Following on this previous (archived) post, it appears that some CIA staff are concerned the Justice Department might not defend them from charges of torture or human rights violations. " . . . some CIA officers have worried privately that they may have violated international law or domestic criminal statutes."
posted by Kirth Gerson on Sep 11, 2006 - 25 comments

...from that block came the sound of screaming ...

Meet the new jailers-- Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad is at the centre of fresh abuse allegations just a week after it was handed over to Iraqi authorities, with claims that inmates are being tortured by their new captors. Mass executions, torture again, etc. How bad is it when the inmates plead for us to come back? (Warning--this second link is graphic evidence of what we did there--NSFW)
posted by amberglow on Sep 10, 2006 - 27 comments

This is more than torture.

The complete Abu Ghraib Video and Photo Collection Updated. Salon completes it's archive comprising of 279 photos and 19 videos spread across ten galleries oringinally posted to Mefi on 16th Feb. Pictures and videos are disturbing and definitely NSFW. (may require log-in by watching a quick advert).
posted by Funmonkey1 on Aug 6, 2006 - 31 comments

Bush Administration fears war crimes trials

Gonzalez seeks "protection" from War Crimes Act of 1996 Ten years ago, the Republican Congress passed the War Crimes Act, which makes violations of the Geneva Convention by Americans criminal acts. Now, the Attorney General is urging the current Republican Congress to "shield" those who participate in the War On Terror from the Act.
posted by Kirth Gerson on Jul 28, 2006 - 68 comments

Nobody pays you to think.

Criticizing the food is OK, just don't mention the water: the blog implied a specific knowledge of interrogations and . . . worried "the seventh floor" at CIA
posted by If I Had An Anus on Jul 21, 2006 - 38 comments

Torture Doctors Without Borders

How Doctors Got Into the Torture Business
An Interview with Steven Miles: The torture-endangered Society
posted by y2karl on Jun 28, 2006 - 59 comments

"We do not torture." -- G.W.B. 7/11/05

The Pentagon has decided to omit from new detainee policies a key tenet of the Geneva Conventions that explicitly bans "humiliating and degrading treatment," according to knowledgeable military officials, a step that would mark a further shift away from strict adherence to international human rights standards.
posted by EarBucket on Jun 5, 2006 - 77 comments

Dishonor, Blood and Treasure - By The Numbers

Two years after the Abu Ghraib scandal, new research shows that abuse of detainees in U.S. custody in Iraq, Afghanistan, and at Guantánamo Bay has been widespread, and that the United States has taken only limited steps to investigate and punish implicated personnel. A briefing paper issued today, 'By the Numbers,' presents findings of the Detainee Abuse and Accountability Project... the first comprehensive accounting of credible allegations of torture and abuse in U.S. custody in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo. The project has collected hundreds of allegations of detainee abuse and torture occurring since late 2001 – allegations implicating more than 600 U.S. military and civilian personnel and involving more than 460 detainees.
U.S.: More Than 600 Implicated in Detainee Abuse

See also Projected Iraq War Costs Soar, See also The Trillion Dolllar War.
posted by y2karl on Apr 27, 2006 - 110 comments

Torture on Tennessee Soil

Let me tell you what we're gonna do. We're gonna put them handcuffs in front of ya. Cut you a little slack. But if you don't start operating, we're gonna put the mother fuckers behind your back, and I'm gonna take this slapjack and I'm gonna start working that head over, you understand? ...you sign this son of a bitch, or I'm gonna hit you again. Audio. .pdf transcript. Full Story.
posted by Kwantsar on Apr 25, 2006 - 60 comments

Rumsfeld expressed puzzlement at the notion that his policies had caused the abuse

“My God, you know, did I authorize putting a bra and underwear on this guy's head?” Rumsfeld “personally involved” in abuses at Guantanamo - according to a recently obtained (by Salon) army inspector general report which contains a sworn statement from a Lt. General
posted by Smedleyman on Apr 18, 2006 - 101 comments

Guantanamo Bay for kids?

Les Enfants Perdu de Tranquility Bay. (Google Video). Recently shown on Australian public TV, this French documentary explores a multi-billion dollar corporation that treats American teens like "faulty goods" sent back for repair. An octopus fishing incident is one of several heartbreaking episodes.
posted by johngoren on Apr 12, 2006 - 36 comments

Dave Schultz, Tie Domi, Bob Probert...

Cofer Black, Director of the CIA Counterterrorism center until May 2002 said before the 9/11 commission: “All I want to say is that there was ‘before’ 9/11 and ‘after’ 9/11. After 9/11 the gloves come off… ‘No Limits’ aggressive, relentless, worldwide pursuit of any terrorist who threatens us is the only way to go…” Since that time there have been allegations of abduction and indefinite detention in secret prisons abroad , abuse in prisons within the U.S. and the suppression of evidence of coercion overseas in confessions in U.S. courts. (Ahmed Omar Abu Ali prev. here). In addition to Amnesty Int’l, it’s getting the U.S. some UN attention as well.
posted by Smedleyman on Apr 7, 2006 - 30 comments

The United States does not torture -- GWB, 11/05

Abu Ghraib, continued. A new cache of disturbing images and videos from the original interrogations, with commentary from Salon. [Definitely NSFW, or for Earth, for that matter.]
posted by digaman on Mar 14, 2006 - 48 comments

Your Hosts, Lynndie and Charles, Welcome You to the New Interrogation Facility

Adieu, Abu Ghraib -- we hardly knew ye (classified, ya know.) In the wake of a damning Amnesty International report, military spokesperson Keir-Kevin Curry says the infamous Baghdad prison will be closed within three months, its occupants transferred to other facilities in Iraq, including Camp Cropper (and don't ask what's happening there , or the terrorists win.) Or is Curry's statement premature? And would the closing of Abu Ghraib represent a change of policy, or merely rebranding the same old same old to avoid bad associations?
posted by digaman on Mar 9, 2006 - 51 comments

Guantanamo interrogation log

Now, as an increasing number of detainees mount legal challenges to their incarceration, TIME is making the record of al-Qahtani's treatment available to the public in its entirety [pdf]. Also read the companion Time article about Mohammad al-Qahtani, the so-called "20th hijacker."
posted by rxrfrx on Mar 3, 2006 - 12 comments

Getting Away with Murder

Getting Away with Murder A new Human Rights First report [PDF] "provides the first comprehensive accounting" of the 98 cases of detainees who have died in US custody in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2002. "Thirty-four deaths were homicides under the U.S. military’s definition...Only 12 deaths have resulted in any kind of punishment." Most of the people behind the abuse have been promoted. The Washington Post concludes that, based on the report, US policy seems to be that torturing a foreign prisoner to death is excusable, but getting photographed doing it will get you in trouble.
posted by kirkaracha on Feb 28, 2006 - 16 comments

Torture

Lust's passion will be served; it demands, it militates, it tyrannizes-Marquis de Sade (tyannizes NSFW) (MI)
posted by snsranch on Feb 15, 2006 - 24 comments

Suppressed Abu Ghraib photos leaked

60 "secret" Abu Ghraib photos have been leaked to the Sydney Morning Herald. (Warning, very NSFW and disturbing.) They are thought to be among those viewed in private by U.S. senators following a May, 2004 hearing and "withheld from the public to protect the integrity of military trials and to avoid further inflaming America's enemies."
posted by Saucy Intruder on Feb 14, 2006 - 193 comments

He has the balls to torture

Jack Bauer isn't afraid to cut the eyes out of any (deliberative) body; or, Rupert Murdoch demonstrates the 17th Amendment's fatal flaw.
posted by orthogonality on Feb 3, 2006 - 37 comments

'Cause The Bible Told Me So

Five Reasons Torture Is Always Wrong. From the magazine "Christianity Today", David P. Gushee, a professor of moral philosophy at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, is against torture. Period. No exceptions. Complete with Bible verses to prove it.
posted by willmize on Jan 27, 2006 - 42 comments

Bush could bypass new torture ban

Bush could bypass new torture ban [From the here-we-go-again department. ] When President Bush last week signed the bill outlawing the torture of detainees, he quietly reserved the right to bypass the law under his powers as commander in chief.
posted by Postroad on Jan 4, 2006 - 87 comments

Silence is Broken

A Disturbance in the Blogosphere: Publishing the UK/US/Uzbekistan Torture Memo. Braving arrest, bloggers have broken the UK’s law of silence with the truth about torture. Bloggers are mass publishing the leaked UK/US/Uzbekistan Torture Memos. The memos are from the correspondences of Craig Murray who was the United Kingdom's ambassador to Uzbekistan. These memos are evidence and a memorandum of record outlining the rendition and torture of US-arrested prisoners in Uzbekistan. From Craig Murray's Memo: 12. On the usefulness of the material obtained, this is irrelevant. Article 2 of the [UN] Convention, to which we are a party, could not be plainer: "No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture." 13. Nonetheless, I repeat that this material is useless – we are selling our souls for dross. It is in fact positively harmful.
posted by Dunvegan on Dec 29, 2005 - 246 comments

These are not the Reditioned Canadiens your looking for

What you get when a Cars Salesman is your Ambassador Do you get the idea that this whole administration is new to this whole diplomacy thing It seems the only way the truth is admitted is under glaring pressure by our allies.
posted by Elim on Dec 27, 2005 - 48 comments

CIA Arrest warrants

At last, someone is going to take the legal route. Italian authorities have issued arrest warrants for 22 CIA Agents suspected of involvement in the US kidnap/torture policy. "The new warrants allow for the suspects' detention anywhere in the 25-nation EU, a prosecutor said." That's more lost clients for the European tourist industry.
posted by cassbrown1 on Dec 24, 2005 - 45 comments

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